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Ready To Start The Garden! The garden plot has been cleared of weeds and needs to be prepared for planting. The soil appears to be a clay loam about 8 inches deep before encountering a hard pan where we would expect that water and roots could have a difficult time penetrating. The hard pan has probably developed over years and years of digging and tilling about 8 inches. Penetrating the hard pan can be done mechanically, by encouraging earthworms or by planting something that has a deep tap root. Our first challenges will be providing water in the form of trickle irrigation and weed control using a landscape fabric along with hand weeding. Both these issues need to be addressed before planting can begin.